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Avalanche Game 2 Plus/Minus: Wood Is Good, Impressive Mittelstadt



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It’s time for playoff plus/minus! As with every game, you take the good with the bad, so time to take a look at the pluses and the minuses in Game Two against the Winnipeg Jets for the Colorado Avalanche.

Sorry, this one was slightly delayed, as we were on the road from Winnipeg to Fargo to catch our flight.

+ Alexandar Georgiev

When that first goal went in, you weren’t sure if he was going to crumble. Heck, I’m not even sure the Avalanche were sure what was going to happen, but he held it together and locked it down (for the most part) from there.

He was less scrambly in net, and pucks were essentially sticking to him. That’s something you notice when he’s not on top of his game. Pucks are bouncing off of him, and more importantly, they’re bouncing right out of his glove. His glove was on fire Tuesday night, snagging pucks through traffic to stop play. The exact type of game the Avalanche needed from him. He doesn’t need to win them a game, but he just can’t lose them the game.

+ Miles Wood

His game dipped during the final part of the season, but maybe he was just saving it for the postseason. He’s been exactly what he was to start the year against Winnipeg. Difficult to play against, using his speed to make life horrible for the opposing defense, and from there, the offense has come. Yes, the goal was a little flukey, but he was ready for that puck to bounce to him and he got rid of it pretty quickly.

My favorite play from Wood in Game Two was when he stuck with Josh Morrissey at the blueline in the third period. Morrissey tried to shake him, shuffling from one side of the blueline to the other, but Wood stuck to him like white on rice. Big performances from him.

+ Casey Mittelstadt

That press box gives you some incredible viewing angles in Winnipeg, and I just came away more and more impressed with Mittelstadt and what he’s doing. No, he hasn’t really made a dent on the scoresheet, but he’s been tremendous in his own end, and his patience with the puck is unreal. He will hold onto the puck until he’s got a guy he can feed no matter where he is on the ice, and that’s a skill that not a lot of players possess. He’s not a Nazem Kadri-type who will stand out because of his intensity and physicality. He flies under the radar a bit more, but he’s very effective and I love what he’s done through two games.

One area of the ice he consistently impresses me at is around the boards. At the end of the second, Bednar put him on the ice with MacKinnon and Rantanen for an offensive zone faceoff. MacKinnon lost the faceoff, but Mittelstadt beat his guy to the corner and used his skill to control the puck. He waited for another defender to attack him, then quickly chipped it into open space for MacKinnon. The Avalanche didn’t score, but it’s the little things that add up.

– Slow Start

It would have been very surprising if the Avalanche had the same start they did in Game One. You knew Winnipeg was going to adjust, and they did, holding Colorado to just two shots on goal in the first 11:36. Luckily, Colorado weathered the storm, so maybe this isn’t necessarily a minus.

– The Reffing

I thought it was horrific all around. All three penalty calls in the first period looked like they were made up on the spot, and the Niederreiter call was almost certainly a makeup call for the phantom tripping call they gave Caleb Jones a minute earlier. In Game One, they at least let the players play most of the game so you can get an idea on what kind of night you’re in for. With those early calls, you didn’t know what you were going to get the rest of the night.

+ Those Manson Moves

What the heck was that? Seriously, what the heck was that? Manson consistently surprises me with his skill, but he made the best goalie in the NHL look silly.

Although that goalie doesn’t necessarily look like the best in the world right now.

+ Artturi Lehkonen

This guy is just built for big moments, isn’t he? Incredible tip on the goal, and it’s the type of goal any team needs in the postseason.

+ Jones and Kiviranta

Two guys who didn’t play a ton down the stretch, but have stepped into the lineup in the playoffs ready to go. That’s not easy to do at the toughest time of year. Jones has been solid, but Kiviranta has kind of blown me away with his play. Do I think it’s sustainable? Probably not, but he has played fantastic in both games.

– Sean Walker Taking A Beating

It really seems like the Jets have targeted Walker as someone they want to make life difficult for. He has taken some massive hits through two games, and then looked like he got slew footed into the boards in the third. Naturally, that wasn’t called. He came back after being pulled by concussion spotters, but I don’t think the Jets are going to stop punishing him the rest of the series. He keeps getting back up, so he’s clearly a tough guy.

– It’s Not 2-0

Let’s be honest – the Avalanche should be leading this series 2-0. They’ve been the better team in both games, but only have one win to show for it. You take a split on the road any time you can get it, so you’re certainly not disappointed with it, but hopefully losing Game One doesn’t come back to bite them.

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